Local authorities have a duty to carry out impact studies on significant changes in their policies and services. They did cursory ones when they proposed the current budget which recommended that in depth impact studies were done before the budget was passed, however they weren’t carried out. I have the original documents on my laptop.
I personally do not believe that the parity of esteem argument is the right one to use in relation to local authority provided social care services. It’s a different wider issue which carries no weight with the council who were the major funder. They will say that they’re fulfilling their statutory obligations, and they will also say that existing services (Alliance etc) cater for everyone. Not to mention the fact that the majority of the cuts effect vulnerable people across the board, including those with physical problems, there are a number of orgs such as Vision the sight impairment support people, and Gemini the domstic violence org who are also likely to close this year due to lack of funding, so it’s a much wider issue than just mental health in NS.
Also, comparing one thing to another (in this case mental health services with physical ones) is a dangerous game to play and risks alienating those who support or have physical problems as they try and defend what they’ve got and it’s a very problematic route to go down, it’s more likely to be divisive than uniting as things stand. Like I said earlier, the parity route leads to very murky and difficult waters. It also means almost nothing to your average person, it’s not an engaging hook for people to buy into, it’s a mainly political issue and is an argument that needs to be had on a national political level and trickle down from there I think personally.
However, if you say that the cuts to services remove vital lifelines from vulnerable people which has major implications, and use our experience with mental health as the core example, that’s something concrete and personal that people can instantly understand and get behind, and will mobilise the majority rather than just those with personal interests. Also it’s much harder to argue against as we can demonstrate the effects, we can use people’s personal stories, talk about real needs etc.
I don’t know if that makes sense?